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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Boeing working with union, FAA to review employee safety reports

A Boeing 767-300F is built for FedEx on Jan. 26, 2022, at the company’s factory in Everett, Wash.  (Ken Lambert/The Seattle Times/TNS)
By Allyson Versprille Washington Post

Boeing Co. said it’s teaming up with its largest labor union and the Federal Aviation Administration to review safety issues reported by employees, part of a broader effort to address concerns about the company’s safety culture.

The planemaker, in its third annual safety report released Friday, said a new event review committee will convene representatives from the regulator, Boeing and district 751 of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers to sift through safety concerns raised by employees through the company’s Speak Up program. The union represents more than 30,000 of Boeing’s production workers.

The collaboration is part of a broad effort to encourage more employees to elevate safety concerns after a door plug blew off a nearly-new Boeing 737 Max in January because it wasn’t properly reinserted at the Boeing final assembly line. The safety report, which summarizes actions undertaken in the last year, comes about a week before Boeing is scheduled to deliver a 90-day plan to the FAA detailing corrective actions it plans to take to fix quality control issues at its factories.

FAA Administrator Michael Whitaker said in an interview on “Good Morning America” Thursday that the 90-day plan is just the beginning and that Boeing faces a “long road” ahead in proving it’s righted its safety practices.

In the report, Boeing reiterated that it’s redoubled efforts to encourage employees to come forward with concerns, resulting in a more than 500% increase in Speak Up submissions in the first two months of 2024 compared with the same period in 2023. It also said it’s conducted product safety training for more than 160,000 employees.

At the same time, the company said it’s taking steps to ensure production work is completed sequentially at assigned factory locations to reduce defects and is simplifying installation plans and production work instructions.

“Our actions are focused on making further improvements to ensure safety, compliance and conformance of our products and services, without compromise,” Boeing Chief Aerospace Safety Officer Mike Delaney said in a statement accompanying the report.